Heliophobes, men and women who shunned sunlight, continue to inform how we live our lives.


The Beaux-Arts town house Henry Clay Frick built in 1905 has provided a familiar — and reassuring — context for the masterpieces he collected during his lifetime. After his death, his daughter and then curators robustly augmented the collection. That building, like everything else in the world, is under refurbishment. For the next two or so years, the collection will be on view several blocks away at the Brutalist behemoth, once the home of the Whitney Museum, at 945 Madison Avenue.

If the Fifth Avenue house presented art as part of a family’s life — the Frick made visitors…

George Washington confers with Pedro Casanave, the Spaniard who was Mayor of Georgetown and oversaw the construction of the “President’s House.”

It’s an American conceit to claim one’s forebear arrived in this country with almost nothing and made a go of it. This is to boast not only of one’s family’s drive and determination to succeed, but also of the vast opportunities the United States afforded to those who resolved to become Americans — and pursued the American Dream.

The life story of a Spanish immigrant to the United States who oversaw the construction of the President’s House, today known as the White House, meets half of this American creation myth. When Pedro Casanave, aged 19 or 20, sailed from Spain…

Andrew Cuomo was so desperate for sex that he harassed women in the workplace in a desperate bid to get some action. As of 18 March 2021, seven women have stepped forward alleging unwelcome sexual conversations or contact with the sex-starved governor.[1] One of the accusers, Karen Hinton, reports being “shocked” when she realized Cuomo was sexually aroused when he hugged her.

The New York Governor represents the danger that “incels” — men and women who, unable to find romantic or sexual partners, are involuntary celibate, hence the portmanteau incel — to society.

Incels first emerged as an online subculture…

If you know that cucaracha is Spanish for cockroach, it’s likely that at some point you heard the folk song about that incapacitated pest.

The melody is festive and the lyrics tell of a critter that, having lost its two hind legs, struggles to walk. La cucaracha, la cucaracha / ya no puede caminar / porque no tiene, porque le falta / las dos patitas de atras. (The cockroach, the cockroach / can no longer walk / because she doesn’t have, because she’s missing / the two hind legs in the back.) …

Take a good look at Alex Padilla, for his is the face of Hispanic America.

Padilla, whom California Governor Gavin Newsom selected to finish Senator Kamala Harris’s term when she is sworn in as Vice President on January 20, 2021, is representative of the majority of Hispanic Americans.

By this, I mean he was born in the United States and is of Mexican ancestry. Two-thirds of Hispanics are natural-born citizens, not immigrants. A little more than two-thirds are of Mexican descent. [1]

This is what constitutes the majority of Hispanic Americans: citizens of Mexican origin who were born here.[2]


Armando Manzanero wearing a traditional Yucatecan guayabera shirt.

Armando Manzanero, Mexico’s most famous composer and balladeer, died from complications of Covid on December 28, 2020. He was 85.

Manzanero, universally addressed as “Maestro” in Mexico, was the most beloved Maya at the time of his death. He was born in Ticul, a town near Mérida, capital of Yucatán State, on December 7, 1935. Yucatec Maya, the most widely spoken indigenous language in North America, itself is characterized by a cadence that is both lyrical and euphonious.[1]Spanish, however, is more so. Manzanero championed the distinct Maya cultural ease of playing with Spanish language speech.

The Library at the University Club, New York City

There came a time when Bill Gates flew his library cross-country.


Libraries, like wallpaper, define the rooms we inhabit. They are peculiar things to love simply because they are easy to overlook. One either grows up with a library at home and it becomes part of one’s life or, later, one decides to assemble a library of one’s own. Either way, there is, if not love, than certainly affection for a library, that collection of books that shape who we become. “I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books,” Jorge Luis Borges, the Argentine writer, said.[1]

If one…

Cornell first required a swim test as a requirement for graduation in 1905.

“Water is a solvent, but the moment you get in the pool, it becomes a solution,” R. Bruce Hart said.

Hart was being funny. A solution, in chemistry, is a homogeneous mixture composed of at least two substances. One substance, a solute, is dissolved in another; usually water, which acts as a solvent. Once combined, you have a solution.

“Water becomes a solution because when you’re in it the salt on your skin dissolves,” he clarified. “A person in water is always in an aqueous solution. There’s no need to be anxious about being in water. …

Pope Clement VII wanted to interview representatives of the “natural inhabitants” of New Spain, the Nahua (Aztecs) at the Vatican.

For longer than he cared to remember, Pope Clement VII had only heard Charles I, the Spanish king, boast about the magnificence of New Spain. “Magnífico es mi reino,” Charles I would declare with hubris in his voice. Clement VII understood the double meaning in that conceit: reino in Spanish means both kingdom and reign. Charles I boasted that his reign was as magnificent as his kingdom.

“How magnificent could New Spain be?” the pope asked. “Ecclesiastes 1:9 teaches us there is nothing new under the sun!”

The Spanish king, however, insisted that there were new and wondrous things under…

The House at 777 Stewart Avenue.

From the moment we step into the Great Hall, it’s understood that our time at 777 Stewart Avenue will be finite.

We think there will always be time, the way we believe that next semester we will get ourselves properly organized. We’re right, of course. We do have time, but that time comes to an end. With the same ease with which we walked through the front doors of Alpha Delta Phi one day, there will come a time when our residency ends and our time there slips into our personal history.

Whether we made the most of our time…

Louis Nevaer

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